“What good is keeping a sleep diary,” Lawrence wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac recently, “when all it’s going to do is confirm what I already know?”
It might seem pointless—and like a whole lot of bother—to keep a sleep diary when you’ve lived many years with insomnia and know its shape and contour like the back of your hands. But I think it’s a valuable investigative tool.
I just read an interesting article about alternative sleep cycles. The writer says the idea that humans need to sleep a block of 8 hours at night is wrong. Other sleep patterns are just as good and may be more natural.
So are there any alternative sleep patterns worth trying out?
A reader wrote to ask about sleeping pills for middle-of-the-night wake-ups.
“I don’t have a problem getting to sleep,” he explained. “I go jogging with my dog after work and that really tires me out. So I’m out by 10 or 10:30. But I have to go to the bathroom at least once a night, and then I can’t get back to sleep. Sometimes I wake up at 1:30 and I’m awake for the rest of the night! I’m about ready to give up and ask for a sleeping pill. Any thoughts?”
Sleep restriction for the sleepless?! Two people have written to Ask The Savvy Insomniac about this insomnia treatment, which can sound as harsh as waterboarding to insomniac ears.
But is it really so bad?
A small business owner wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac to say that her problem was that she didn’t normally feel sleepy until around 3 a.m.
Here are a couple ways she could shift her biological rhythms so that she feels like going to sleep earlier.
A woman wrote to Ask The Savvy Insomniac about using alcohol to get to sleep.
The nightcap comes with caveats for both good sleepers and people with insomnia. I’ll offer the official story and then my take.